“Some people rob you with a six-gun…”


“…and some with a fountain pen.” (Woody Guthry)

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I got word early this morning that my friend’s adoption has now been slammed shut by the adoptive couple because she has the temerity to speak out about her pain of losing [her little son]. There is no legal recourse for her…and what is worse, she has to live with the knowledge for the rest of her life that she chose these people to parent her son. On the upside, the adoptive parents told [my friend] that if she can “be happy” about the adoption and “learn to handle her pain” then they might allow some form of contact. Might.

I am sure [my friend] is much like me (at least prior to this latest stunt that [this little boy’s] adoptive parents have pulled). I am sure that her problems with adoption are NOT with the adoptive parents. Our chief complaint is with the institution of womb-fresh, still wet with their mother’s amniotic fluid infant adoption and with the culture that supports and condones this type of treatment of women who would make exceptional mothers.

Lest anyone think that the cultural attitudes and norms of the Baby Scoop Era are a relic of the past, they are not. They are alive and well in Utah and the LDS adoption scene.

I keep wondering what is going through that woman’s mind right now, the woman who is now holding [this little boy] hostage, using him as a bargaining tool to force [my friend’s] compliance with the culturally mandated norm of  a  “good LDS bee-mommy.” You know the kind I am talking about, the birth mothers who go around “advocating for adoption” because it is such a “miracle and a blessing” in their lives and they feel so “privileged” and “lucky” to give their babies to complete strangers. It makes me wonder how many of those women are just going through the motions, regurgitating the party-line so they are not cut off from their child’s life forever by their adopters.

A person doesn’t always have to have a gun pointed at their head, locked and loaded, in order to be forced into complicity.

And then I get to thinking of how this could be handled differently. Since we know that [his] adoptive parents have now claimed total and utter ownership of him, of course they are well within their “rights” to do whatever they please. We also know they would never in a million years consider giving [him] back to his mother because he was bought and paid for, signed, sealed and delivered and is now theirs forever and ever amen.

But what if, instead of acting like a petulant 5-year old little girl who is angry at someone because they dared play with her dolly, what if this woman were to suck it up and be the mature person she claims to be? What if she were to call [my friend] and say, “I know you are hurting. I know this isn’t what any of us thought it would be. It is what it is so we have to find a way through this. What can we do together to make this the best for all of us?” We all know the best possible thing for [him] is to have his mother in his life. If this adoption was REALLY about [this little boy] and his needs and NOT about his adoptive mother and HER NEEDS, then she would say a prayer, suck it up, and do what is needed to ensure that [he] has his mother in his life. Period. That includes setting aside her prideful need to exert ownership over this precious child.

And then I get to thinking about [this little boy] and how this will affect him. He is being raised by people who detest his mother enough to intentionally cut her out of his life. This is no longer the era of closed adoption. They cannot claim ignorance or innocence about their behavior. They will be fully responsible for the fallout of this in [his] life. They will have NO ONE to blame but themselves for what happens when he discovers how poorly they have treated his mother. And make no mistake about it – he will find out.

There are many other things I have been thinking but for now, I need to get back to my writing for my dissertation. I have 22 more days before I need to have it in the hands of my committee and I am starting to get a wee bit anxious.

Much love,

M.

_______________________________________________________

P.S. I had to edit this post and the comments tonight to remove identifying information of my friend and  her son. Things have gone from bad to impossible and I don’t want provide the adoptive mother any more ammunition to use against my friend. Any changes to the post or comments are [bracketed]. I *hate* having to do this, but I don’t know any other way to protect her yet tell her story at the same time. My apologies to those whose comments had to be redacted.   03/10/9:37 p.m.

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25 thoughts on ““Some people rob you with a six-gun…”

  1. My heart goes out to [your friend] and [your friend’s mom] and [baby boy].

    It is a shame that mothers cannot speak about how they really feel for fear their adoptions will close. It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not getting an accurate portrayal of adoption out there so that we can better serve families in the future generations.

    When did the right of a child to know his origins and his right to have access to his natural family become second to a natural mother feeling and saying only things people want her to say?

    • it’s not getting an accurate portrayal of adoption out there so that we can better serve families in the future generations.

      EXACTLY THIS. This is one of the reasons I feel people like Mrs. R. are doing such a disservice to families everywhere. Her sugar-coated version of adoption and “her” bee-mommies does not portray the real human cost that is extracted by society from the adoptee and from their natural families. It is NOT an accurate portrayal of the full range of emotions, merely the sanitized, prettified version. LDS birth mothers ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. And if we do AND we have the temerity to speak out about them or, GASP at the shame and horror of it – cry at the party celebrating the fact that our baby was just sealed to another family? Well…we just witnessed exactly what happens. We are cut out of our child’s life and our testimony of the Atonement and of Jesus Christ are called in to question by leaders and lay membership alike. We are summarily silenced with threat of expulsion from our child’s life and from our community of worship.

      THANK GOD, literally, that I know not all adoptive parents are this way and not all adoptive parents in the LDS church are this way. If it weren’t for those courageous women, I would be despondent but they give me hope that there can be and is a better way, a higher path to be trod.

      • Maybe, but can you organize an in-LDS counterdemonstration of sympathy of some sort, be it just a neighbour or so passing on weekly reports to Alyssa, to give an example?

  2. After the pain and hurt I feel sorry for this woman. I know she doesn’t understand [your friend]’s pain. I am sure she went to the adoptive parent meeting with the “good” natural moms that sang the praises of adoption. She expected [your friend] to be the same way. I’m sure it shocks and hurts her that [your friend] is not like that. Alyssa was against adoption before she found out she was pregnant. When she found out she was pregnant she was against adoption. It wasn’t until she went to sessions with LDSFS that her viewpoints started changing. She was for adoption until Owen was born. She did not expect to love and want her son so much. She did not know how to hurt the PAPs and she felt pressured plus she had not really ate or slept in 3 days was she signed the papers.

    Loving your parents and hating adoption are two very different things. I am a natural mom, I will be involved with adoption forever. That does not mean I love it and have to be grateful. Is adoption necessary? Absolutely when a child desperately needs a family not when a couple desperately wants a child.

    I also think it scares the adoptive mom to see how close [your friend] and I are. That would be terrifying for any adoptive couple. Our blood runs in [baby boy] and I am sure she is scared he will cling to [your friend].

    • Yes, I am sure [baby boy’s] adoptive mother was not prepared for this. But still…at what point does her personal responsibility kick in? When [my friend] was pregnant that’s all she was told – be responsible, do the right thing, be responsible, do what is best for [baby boy].

      Well, cutting [my friend] out of [baby boy]’s life is not what is best for him. Going back on your word is not responsible. Doing the right thing is this situation would be for [baby boy]’s adoptive mother to get over herself and her shattered vision of what a good bee-mommy “should” do and say. The right thing would be for her to do exactly what I have seen other adoptive mothers do – suck it up, learn how to navigate this new relationship and do what is best and right for [baby boy].

      /rant.

      You know I love you and Alyssa but I cannot back down on this one. Owen’s adoptive mother cannot un-know what she now knows about the pain a birth mother goes through. She knows it and God knows she knows it. It is now up to her to be responsible and make the right choices *for Owen*, regardless of how much pain it might cause her. Isn’t that EXACTLY what Alyssa was told when she made her adoption “plan’? Why shouldn’t his adoptive mother be required to do the EXACT same thing?

  3. My heart breaks so much for what [your friend] and [her mother] are going through.

    I know not all of LDS acts in this manner, but what I have seen and read in the last week concerning [your friend]’s feelings and how others, hiding behind God, have torn her down over and over again for her pain, leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and rally makes me worry that much more about the true dark side behind LDS adoptions.

    I’ve been there. I know when an adoption closes it’s like losing your child all over again. I hate that [your friend] has to go through this after already suffering so bad from the initial loss of her son.

  4. This is such a horrible story. I wish that every person who says that adoption is different now could read this. It is SUCH a great point that the adoptive mother should have to do the right thing for [baby boy]. Isn’t that what being a parent is all about?

    Unfortunately, Utah and the LDS adoption scene aren’t the only place where these types of things still happen. The Catholic Church has also been doing it for years and years and I’m sure that many other churches and organizations do as well. I was behind a car the other day with a bumper sticker that read, “Adoption: The Loving Option”. It was all I could do not to crash my car into theirs! It is so incredibly awful that organizations that could be doing so much good in the world spend their resources separating mothers and children.

  5. Yes, there is a good chance that [baby boy] will learn to hate his adoptive parents and all the LDS, poor kid. Maybe he will break free, one day, I just hope [she] can bear it so long…

  6. It’s so sad that the adoptive Mom would cut off contact because [your friend] is sad. Adoption isn’t really about the kids and hasn’t ever really been.

    • In some cases where the child has been neglected, abused, or other wise mistreated it is about this child but this time? No, in this particular instance it has been all about a 40 year old woman who wanted a baby because she couldn’t have one of her own.

  7. Sadly, I expected this after reading [your friend]’s post of the “sealing” ceremony. Reading that was painful. I wanted to walk into the post, up to that woman who dreams of herself as [baby boy]’s mother and rescue him and give hime back to [your friend], his actual mother. The fact they have closed the adoption… well, I think they would have done this anyway. I have seen this happen all too often over the years and know adopters are merely wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. Once they have what they covet, that being another woman’s child, flesh and blood, they will run and hide. All “promises” are merely lies; used to sooth fears and lure mothers into the so carefully laid trap of “open” adoption.

    Adoption for the children? Please, what a joke! If it wasn’t in ancient days then it sure was never going to be today. All time has done is show up how truly rotten the foundations are. It has always been about the adults and what they can gain. And continues to be today only the world seems to be immune to how much pain humans are able to inflict on each other. Society has become desensitised. It has become acceptable to kick a young mother to the curb and not only that, preach hatred at her whislt making it appear to be kind. To take her child and expect her to stay down.

    I am so very, very sad and sorry for the agony [your friend] and [her mom] are going through. It is wrong and injust and just awful. Adopters who do this are despicable.

    • Yes, Myst, those of us who have been around long enough could see the writing on the wall with this one and knew it would only be a matter of time before they closed the adoption. What is stunning to me is the speed with which they did it. The adoption was only final for one week before they backed out of their promised to [my friend].

      All of this adoptive mother’s friends have been attacking [my friend] and saying, “Well you have no one to blame but yourself! You chose HER, YOU CHOSE HER!!!!!” Yeah, I know. That’s what makes this even more insidious and soul destroying – [my friend] picked that woman, trusted that woman, and now she has turned her back on [my friend].

      *sigh* Gotta love open adoptions, eh?

      • “What is stunning to me is the speed with which they did it. The adoption was only final for one week before they backed out of their promised to [your friend]. ”

        I wish I could say that it stunned me… but it didn’t. She obviously never intended on keeping her open agreement… I have heard of this happening the second the adoption was final… so yeah, sadly, not surprised.

        Oh its SO EASY to blame the victim rather than face the perpetrator and make them accountable for their actions. Alyssa may have “chosen” them but really, was she ever given a proper choice to keep him??

  8. I am sick to my stomach. My thoughts and prayers are with [your friend’s mom]and [your friend]. My heart is breaking and i dont even know you.

    My little brain cannot comprehend the actions of the adoptive mother. How this is in [baby boy’s] best interest baffles me.

    • Jen, do accept that whatever else people may be, they are basically animals. What this female does is nothing else than a female ape with the assistance of a lawyer robbing the baby of another one. There are no idications that baby boy’s best interest has ever been considered by her.

  9. Excellent letter, M. I could have never said it better. And Valency, I’m with you 100%. I have ZERO pity for any adoptoraptor who takes an infant KNOWING how it is destroying his mother and will surely destroy him one day. And yes, that woman is scared out of her skull that [baby boy] will not only find his mother but discover that natural bond and seal it even deeper. Welp, that’s why you can’t PRETEND to be a mother…

    Sorry…ranting…so angry!!!

  10. This is sickening. Completely disgusting. How people can try to rationalize this adoptive mothers behavior is beyond me. There is NO excuse for what she has done. Yeah, [your friend] chose adoption. She chose those jerks to be parents. BUT she TRUSTED them with her ENTIRE life, her flesh and blood, her baby! How could anyone betray a person that made all of their dreams a reality? When a child is kidnapped, people are horrified. How is this any different? How can people not be horrified that this has happened??

    And as for what you said about the koolade sipping LDS birthmoms, I COMPLETELY agree. Everyone wanted to be friendly until I made a few not-so-happy posts. Then the comments/emails were all, “I have lost respect for you” “I find your posts to be frustrating now” “How can you say these things?” How can I say them? ‘Cause it’s the f*ing truth, thats how!

  11. OMG. This is heart wrenching! I really don’t understand what these people– the adopters are thinking. I feel for [your friend]– but even if they don’t give a $h*t about her– what about their SON? REALLY? How can these people not possibly understand that this is harmful to HIM? That it will be harmful to him throughout his life?

    If they don’t really care about the emotional harm this will cause him– do they not get that this will cause emotional harm to the relationship they have with him. I don’t mean to focus on the adopters– but they are clearly so focused on themselves so to put it in their self-focused terms.

    The terms in an open adoption need to be legally enforceable. It is done with children whose parents divorce– it can be done in adoption. It shouldn’t be so difficult! I really don’t understand how someone can make a PROMISE as great as what is made in an open adoption and then NOT keep it!

    This whole sealing thing in the LDS church– is there anyway, in adoptions, something like that (the sealing) can be opened-up to include the birth mom/family? My verly limited understanding of the sealing is so that family members can recognize each other in the afterlife. Does this preclude knowing other people in the afterlife? What if you have a really good friend– would you be able to recognize that person?

    • Reena – Well said. Unfortunately, it is reported that upwards of 80% of all open adoptions end up closing for one reason or another. I am hoping that my friend gives me permission to post a picture from last Saturday that will explain why I believe baby boy’s adoptive mother closed the adoption. It truly is worth a thousand words as it captures the very core of why infant adoption is so very wrong, particularly when the mother is a capable and competent young woman. So. w.r.o.n.g.

      About the sealing ceremony – it isn’t that it allows people to “recognize” each other in the after life, but that it binds family units/relationships together. We believe we will still recognize and associate with our loved ones in the next life be they friends or family. It’s just that the fundamental unit of husband + wife + children have the chance to continue on. What most people (LDS folks included) forget is that it isn’t the actual ceremony itself that seals a family together – that is simply a physical ordinance, like baptism. What ultimately seals a family together is the Holy Spirit and Truth. God cannot lie – He will not lie, and He will not force ANYONE to live or participate in a lie in our next plane of existence. That includes families that are built upon lies here on earth (ahem, baby boys’s AP).

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